When faced with the presence of both the store's namesake and one of its new owners, La Cintra wisely keeps most of her barbs in check. After all, this is a store in transition —a new logo in keeping with the style of with its new parent already graces a website otherwise under construction, a dubious improvement. Instead she focuses on the store's carefully cultivated service and charismatic leader. She acknowledges that Wilkes Bashford could benefit from more than a little updating, but leaves the question open as to whether its new owners, the Connecticut based family behind the equally revered Mitchells, Richards and Marshs, are saviors or interlopers, keen to remake the store in their familiar East coast image,
ONE hopes the Mitchells recognize that the soul of the business really shouldn’t change, and that the soul of Wilkes Bashford still belongs to Wilkes Bashford. It’s him; it’s about his humanity, connectivity, genuine kindness and personal interest in everyone, from the collar size and hazel eyes of the rich guy from Pacific Heights down to the assistant accountant in the business department. It’s the recognition that a retail store exists in a community made of distinct individuals.Tread lightly, carpetbaggers.
Critical Shopper | Wilkes Bashford: The Man Stays in the Game by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Wilkes Bashford 375 Sutter Street between Stockton Street and Grant Avenue, San Francisco